Pro Football Focus has recently been announcing their NFL “Top 100” players and the Buffalo Bills are being represented. Bills defensive back Jairus Byrd was the first Bill on the list, slotted in at number 72, and now Bills fans can add one more player to that list. Running back Fred Jackson comes in at number 40.
Jackson is one spot behind New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez who comes in at 39. The only other running back in the 31-40 range was LeSean McCoy of the Philadelphia Eagles who came in at 31.
The review on Jackson said:
“Jackson missed six games and yet still had our highest rating for all running backs. That’s how good he was in 2011, and it makes you wonder how much higher he could have gone if not for injury. He was electric to start the year, as the Bills went from laughing stock to playoff contender. Numbers say it all as Jackson averaged 5.5 yards per carry (best for all backs with 150 plus carries), 3.7 yards after contact per carry (most of all backs) and 11.2 yards per reception (the 2nd most of any back with at least 20 receptions). Stunningly productive.”
They also mentioned his top performance of the year as week three vs. New England (a Bills 34-31 win), where he had 12 carries for 74 yards and a touchdown, as well as five receptions for 87 yards. His “key stat” that was added below his analysis was, “Finished second in our 2011 Elusive Rating after averaging 3.75 yards after contact and forcing 45 missed tackles.”
I was happy to see Jackson get the recognition he deserved, even though to me I feel like he could easily be ranked higher. Jackson, the heart and soul of this Bills team, was one of the leading rushers in the league last season before getting injured and missing the rest of the season. Looking at his numbers, he was able to rack up 934 yards and six touchdowns in only 10 games.
Looking ahead to this season I can’t wait to see what he will be able to do to build on that for a full schedule.
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